Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has revealed he was “close” to joining Paris Saint-Germain in the summer transfer window and also spoke to Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho about a move to Spurs.
Having been a first-team regular during Frank Lampard’s first season in charge at Stamford Bridge, Rudiger found himself out of favour to begin the current campaign, making just one appearance in Chelsea’s first 15 Premier League games.
There was intense speculation that the Germany international would depart before the summer transfer window closed in October, but he remained and fought his way back into the starting XI before Lampard was sacked in January, and has impressed since Thomas Tuchel’s appointment.
Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League round of 16 second leg against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, Rudiger has now revealed there were two clubs that he could have joined – PSG, who Tuchel was in charge of at the time, and Tottenham.
“I was close (to leaving),” Rudiger said. “There were really like two teams, maybe one team I was considering, that was PSG to be honest.
“There was (a) call also with Mourinho, but this is something at the end of the day that didn’t happen, and with Tuchel also, (but it) didn’t happen.
“I was upset of course because I knew my situation and wouldn’t play that often.”
Rudiger was on the bench for Chelsea’s opening game of the season at Brighton, but then found himself left out of Lampard’s matchday squad for four consecutive games, something he admits took him by surprise.
Shortly after Lampard’s dismissal in January, Rudiger dismissed suggestions that he had played a role in the dismissal, with reports having claimed that he had encouraged the Chelsea hierarchy to change the head coach.
“I was shocked, shocked is the wrong word, not really shocked. Some things I saw coming, obviously, but then I was not in the squad I didn’t see coming. I took it on the chin,” Rudiger said.
“Then I had (a) talk with the ex-coach, Lampard, then I was back on the bench, then back in the team. I worked my way back and the last games of his reign I was on the pitch.
“Now things are going well for me and I’m very happy about it, but I always felt well in the club. They treated me nice, especially upstairs from the board, nobody told me you should leave, not even Frank Lampard. The transfer, loans I wanted didn’t happen, but nobody told me I should leave.”